The '23 season of the DP World Tour ended last night on the 18th green of the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Since 2009, the winner of the Tour's seasonal ranking has been crowned on the green of this par 5, and yesterday for the fifth time the trophy was lifted by Rory McIlroy, with Nicolai Højgaard winning the tournament ranking.
This par 5 offers players plenty of birdie opportunities, but thanks to its iconic stream a bogey or double is always around the corner for even the best players in the world. The Jumeirah Golf Estate
Jumeirah Golf Estate is a golf complex located in Dubai that hosts two courses, Earth and Fire, both designed by Greg Norman.
The original project included two other fields, Water and Wind, which however were never built due to the 2008 economic crisis. Both courses are part of a large residential complex, and the holes wind through narrow corridors between villas.
The Earth course was designed with the purpose of hosting a major Tour event, and while many of the holes aren't particularly compelling, the 18th is one of the best finishing holes on the Tour. The 18th
The Earth Course's 18th hole is a 595-yard par 5 with a slight dogleg to the right and a stream that comes into play on every shot.
The genius of this hole lies precisely in the strategic position of the stream; in the tee shot it protects the right side of the fairway, forcing players to stay on the left and lengthen the hole. Those who choose an aggressive line by choosing to play close to the obstacle can shoot the second shot directly to the green.
The landing area of the second shot is cut in half by the stream, dividing the fairway into two parts. Those who choose the conservative line from the tee will then have to choose on which side to place the second shot to leave themselves the best line of attack to the shaft.
Those who choose to attack the green with the second shot still have to deal with the stream that protects the short, left side of this very large and diagonally positioned green. This leaves players with plenty of room to make mistakes to the right, but from that side the approach is very difficult due to the strong right-left slope of the green.
As usual, a great hole comes from the numerous possible choices and the multitude of shots required of players, and in this case a strategically positioned obstacle guarantees all this.